In eight months, 59,000 people enrolled in New Zealand.

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Posted on March 25, 2024


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The number of foreign students enrolled in New Zealand’s education system in the first eight months of 2023 was 59,306, up 43% over the same period in 2022.

“International students continue to find New Zealand an attractive education destination,” according to data released by Minister of Tertiary academic and Skills Penny Simmonds on March 20.

“There is a solid base of students from which to grow for the university sector, with 27,535 students enrolled, where a portion of learners may study for a number of years,” the speaker stated.

The pandemic had a severe impact on the nation’s foreign education industry, despite New Zealand having one of the safest borders in the world due to the government’s first concern being public safety.

Although the epidemic has been hard to recover from, the latest numbers are encouraging, and some in the industry believe the nation may gain from changes in important rival nations’ policies, such Australia, the UK, and Canada.

Enrollments of international students have increased in every sub-sector save tertiary institutions with a Māori context, or wānanga. By percentage growth, the English Language School sector has recovered the most. Enrollment in ELT increased by 347% in the first eight months of 2023, from 1,565 in 2022 to 7,001.

“Diversifying our recruitment efforts for international students is a government priority, with the goal of reaching a wider spectrum of countries,” Simmonds continued. Simmonds became minister for Tertiary Education and Skills in November 2023 after the election of the previous year.

The available 2023 data shows that school enrolments have increased from 5,925 to 12,662, Te Pūkenga from 4,955 to 6,560, universities from 24,040 to 27,535 and Private Training Establishments from 5,000 to 5,671.

36% of enrollment came from China, 10% from India and Japan, 5% from South Korea, and 4% from Thailand. Education NZ further stated that the final enrollment figures for 2023 will be released soon.